UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Prepare To Face Nets Without Durant

Jan 4, 2021, 4:15 PM
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)...
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will face their second significantly shorthanded roster when they travel to face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. On Sunday night, the Jazz defeated the San Antonio Spurs who were without starters Derrick White and LaMarcus Aldridge. Now, they prepare to face a Nets team without superstar Kevin Durant.

On Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Durant was due to miss the next week with the Nets due to coming into close contact with someone with COVID-19.

“Nets star Kevin Durant is expected to require seven days of quarantine before returning to action due to contact tracing/exposure to COVID-19,” sourced told Charania.

The loss of Durant is a big blow to a Nets roster still trying to find its footing in the Eastern Conference.

Jazz Facing Still Developing Nets

After blowout wins over the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics to open the season, it looked as though the Nets were the team to beat in the NBA.

However, the Nets have lost four of the last five games since their hot start, before losing Durant to league protocols. On Sunday, Brooklyn lost to the lowly Washington Wizards who had just one victory previous victory on the season.

Over the last five games, the Nets have the fifth-worst defensive rating after allowing 104, 116, 141, 114, and 123 point performances to the Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks, and the Wizards.

Neither DeAndre Jordan nor Jarrett Allen have proved to be the paint protectors the Nets have needed to open the season, pushing new head coach Steve Nash to play former Jazzman Jeff Green extended minutes at the center position.

Further complicating matters, the Nets will be without guard Spencer Dinwiddie for the remainder of the season after suffering a partially torn ACL last week.

Key Matchup

With the Nets struggling in the frontcourt, the Jazz will look to further exploit the issue by relying heavily on Rudy Gobert in his matchup with Brooklyn’s bigs.

Gobert is averaging 14.5 points and 13.7 rebounds for the Jazz while adding 2.2 blocked shots per game. The center opened the season with four consecutive double-doubles but fell one rebound shy against the Los Angeles Clippers and three points shy against the San Antonio Spurs.

Allen is averaging a near double-double at 9.6 points and 10.7 rebounds despite playing just 22.9 minutes a night off the bench. While Jordan is averaging 4.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in 19 minutes as the starter.

Last season, Gobert dominated the Nets in the teams’ two meetings. The Jazz center averaged 20 points, 16.5 rebounds, and shot 77 percent from the floor in the team’s two victories.

Broadcast

The Jazz and Nets will tip-off at 5:30 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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